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Homemade Canneles

Homemade Canneles

The first time I tasted a cannele, the French pastry that is often referred to as a hand-held creme brulee, I was completely underwhelmed. The wonders of these pastries are frequently extolled by food writers and the rubbery, bland pastry I tasted was surely not worth more than a single word: bad. I tried many more, some better than others, but they never lived up to their hype, not at French bakeries, not at gourmet stores, not at restaurants “known” for them. Disappointed, I decided that the only way to really know whether a cannele was a dessert worth all the work was to make it myself. If it wasn’t any better, than I must not be someone who likes canneles in spite of their reputation.

I have since decided that unless you camp out at a bakery and run into the kitchen to eat these as soon as they come out of the oven, the only way to enjoy them is to make them at home. My homemade canneles had a crisp-chewy caramelized sugar crust and a smooth, custardy center that was definitely reminiscent of a creme brulee – albeit one with a lot more texture than usual! They are unique and very tasty.

Canneles are not something that can be whipped up quickly. The batter is easy to make, but must be prepared in advance and refrigerated for 24-36 hours before baking. Normally, cannele are baked in special copper molds that give them a signature look. These molds are pretty pricey, but luckily the cannele can be baked in muffin cups, too. This is one instance where I would strongly recommend using silicone (or buying silicone cannele molds) because these take nearly two hours in at 400F oven to form their caramelized crust, and it will stick to anything that isn’t extremely well greased. Traditionally, cannele molds are lined with beesewax to give them a clean release. Silicone needs no prep and you won’t end up with an overly chewy (or waxy-tasting, as some I’ve had have been) outer layer on your pastries.

I used a Paula Wolfert recipe for these and had great success with it. Prepare it the night before you want to bake and bake these the same day you want to serve them. They’ll still have the same flavor the next day, but they are at their very best when served still warm from the oven, with the contrast between crust and custardy center at its most distinct.

Homemade Canneles, innards

Homemade Canneles
2 cups milk (lowfat is fine)
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, chilled
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat milk in a small saucepan until it just starts to come to a simmer, but does not boil.
Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar, salt and chilled butter in a food processor and pulse to combine well. Add in egg yolks and blend until mixture is uniform. With the motor running, stream in the hot milk very slowly. Stir in vanilla extract.
Strain mixture into a bowl or large measuring cup, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Line a baking sheet with 12 silicone muffin cups or use a silicone cannele mold. Regular muffin cups can also be used, but must be greased well with vegetable oil or shortening to prevent sticking.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups, filling each almost to the top.
Bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, until canneles are very dark brown and black around the edges (yes, it’s a long time!).
Turn out immediately on to a wire rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Canneles can be served warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12

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  • Linda
    June 17, 2009

    Wow that is a long baking time at 400 degrees. I thought it was a typo when you wrote about it above the recipe. Seems like they would burn, not caramelize for that long in 400 degrees and that small. Sounds like fun but I wouldn’t be able to get them to the tasters fast enough it sounds like. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe I’ll have a group to try them on one day. I do have the molds so I’m ready!! LOL

  • Jasmine
    June 17, 2009

    WOW. These look amazing! I have actually been looking for a homemade recipe of these for a while since I love custardy desserts and things with a crunchy top, like muffin tops. These are a perfect combo of both. I am going to try these right away!
    Also, they seem relatively healthy in comparison to other desserts.
    Love the pic as always, Nicole!

  • sophie
    June 18, 2009

    hello i’m french and ร‚ยป
    I will give you the best recipe for Canneles of Paris.
    For 18 Canneles

    1/2 liter of milk
    3 eggs ( 2eggs + the yolk)
    125g plain flour
    225g sugar
    25g butter
    vanilla powder
    3tsp of rhum

    The day before:
    In a bolw whip 2eggs and the yolk . Boil milk and pour over eggs and whisk.
    in an other bolw combine flour,sugar,vanilla,melt butter . Add eggs and milk not completly warm and mix well. Add the rhum .
    Put the mixture in an empty mineral water and put in refrigerator for the night.
    Next day preheat the oven to 250*C, fill canneles pan 3/4.
    Bake 11minutes to 250*C an let down to 180*C for one hour
    Put out of the pan when it’s not completly warm ( in french tiede)
    The cannele is soft inside and crusty outside .You must eat in the day.
    If you want canneles pan I can send you because we find them everywhere .
    Sorry for my english I hoppe you enderstand the recipe . If you need somethimg else I work in patisserie .

  • Ashley
    June 18, 2009

    I’ve never had canneles but have wanted to try making them at home. Thanks for this! Thankfully I do have a silicone muffin mold I can use.

  • chocolateshavings
    June 18, 2009

    Growing up in France, these were a pastry staple. You might have just inspired to try making them at home!

  • cinnamonquill
    June 18, 2009

    so beautiful. i like the muffin tin idea, especially since i don’t have the special molds. truly gorgeous, and now i have an all-out craving. i’ll make these soon for sure!

  • Muneeba
    June 18, 2009

    This is a brilliant idea, truly!

  • Lindsay
    June 21, 2009

    Thanks for the recipe! An unintended consequence of reading this post on Thursday morning before breakfast is that I then wanted a cannele that day, and that I wanted to acquire some new canneles molds! Ultimately I got my fixation for the former by heading up to the street to a bakery that sells canneles. They didn’t do such a bad job; though I definitely walked away from the place thinking I should really make my own.

  • Ray
    June 23, 2009

    Wow! That was a delicious recipe!! I developed an immediate appetite as soon I read the article and saw those pictures

  • Normally, cannele are baked in special copper molds that give them a signature look.

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